June 5, 2007

Ten on Tuesday: 10 jobs


10 occupations you wanted to be when you were young
I'm not sure I ever wanted to be an occupation. But I think I get what the topic means. There are two problems with this topic, though: What is meant by "young," and if "young" means 8 years old then I can't remember anything I wanted to be except retired. So I guess I'll go with that as #1.

  1. Retired. I didn't know what that meant, really, but I knew it could involve an RV, and I thought RVs were wicked cool. I still want to be retired.
  2. Jai-Alai player. I used to watch (and bet on) jai-alai at the old MGM Grand in Vegas. Ricardo, Acosta, Juan, and all the others whose names escape me but whose play I remember. I still have a couple of programs from the late 1970s before they closed the fronton and turned it into convention space. That was a sad, sad day for me. I wanted to learn to play jai-alai so bad that I almost used all my own money to by myself a cesta and looked into where I could take lessons. I'll just say that it's a good thing we all grow up at some point. But I'd still love to have been a player.
  3. Baseball player. I stunk at baseball. I had more strikeouts than putouts. The coach put me at second base my first several years because I couldn't throw all the way to first base from shortstop. Plus, I was short, so I guess he thought I could block the grounders. Now I would still like to be a baseball player. Not because I like baseball (I don't) but because the average salary is over $1 million a year, and it would take me closer to my #1 career choice (see above).
  4. Pilot. This was back in the days when stewardesses were young and hot and slept with the pilots on a regular basis. But it was also back in the days when I was too young and still thought girls were sort of pointless. I just loved all the gadgets in the cockpit and the idea of flying. I really liked those little plastic wings the airlines gave the kids, and I figured pilots got as many of those as they wanted.
  5. Casino Dealer. My mom drove a cab in Vegas when I was young, and I spent a lot of time walking through casinos to get to the movies, or to restaurants, or to the video arcades, or to jai-alai. I was a regular at the craps table by 18 even though I still looked eleven years old. Never won anything but never lost much, either. As a kid, though, I though it was all cool. Now I feel sorry for the dealers because of what they have to put up with from the customers.
  6. Soldier. But not just any soldier. A black-and-white soldier from a WW II movie. Those guys were tough and had integrity and grit, and they always won with courage and aplomb or died trying. And the nurses they hooked up with when they got some injury. Mmm mmm.
  7. President of the United States. Initially, I thought I could be a good one, and flying in your own 747 seemed like a neat idea. Plus, you got to order aircraft carriers around. Later, after my grandmother told me I could never be President because it took a certain kind of person (I was hurt at first, but now that I'm older I understand she meant a power-hungry liar who will stop at nothing to achieve personal gain), I still wanted to be president because the best job in the world is retired president. Big pension, your own enormous library, and your own entourage of secret service people.
  8. Race car driver. What isn't cool about race cars when you're a 10-year-old boy?
  9. Writer. I didn't really realize this was a career until middle school, and by then I was already into computers. But I loved to write as a kid. Although I got my college degree in electrical engineering, my first jobs were in tech writing and I managed to author several articles in industry journals.
  10. Computer programmer. I'm not sure I ever really wanted to be this when I was "young." I wanted a video game system (Intellivision at the time), but my dad got me an Apple ][+. I learned to program it in BASIC and then Pascal and even assembly, writing programs to help run the Dungeons & Dragons games my friends and I spent our time on. I thought I was a nerd until I got to the UC Berkeley school of engineering when I found out what the word truly means. I didn't even know they had AP classes in Pascal until I realized I'd much rather be taking History or English. But I knew that if I switched to History or English, I'd have a much harder time reaching my #1 career goal. Which is why I have been building complex, database driven web applications for the past eight years.